Like “entity”, the word “attribute” has a specific technical sense when used in the SGML context, which differs somewhat from its sense when used in the database design context. An SGML attribute is a category of information associated with a particular type of element, but not contained within it. Attributes are associated with particular element occurrences by including their name and value within the start-tag for the element concerned. For example:

Call me <name type="Biblical">Ishmael</name>.

Here “type” is the name of an attribute associated with any occurrence of the <name> element, “Biblical” is the value defined for this attribute in the case of the example <name> above.

Attributes are used for two related purposes: they enable an identifying number or name to be associated with a particular element occurrence within a text (which might otherwise be missing), and they enable additional information missing from a text to be added to it without violating its integrity.

(Burnard 2014,§ 4.3)

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Een attribute bij een element kan verdere informatie aan dat element geven en wordt in een ATTLIST in de DTD verklaard.

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The purpose of an attribute specification is to add some extra information about an element occurrence beyond its name.

(Burnard 2014, 14)

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